Kerala High Court: In an application filed under Section 438 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’) seeking pre-arrest bail in a matter involving offences under Sections 376-D of Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and 67-A of Information Technology Act, 2000 (‘IT Act’), Dr. Kauser Edappagath, J. took note of WhatsApp chats depicting payment of Rs 5,000 to the victim after the alleged sexual intercourse and granted bail to the applicant.
It was alleged in the Prosecution case that one accused brought the victim to a hotel, stupefied her by providing liquor and the two engaged in sexual intercourse with her. It was further alleged that the accused recorded her sexually explicit video and transmitted the same through electronic media.
It was submitted on behalf of the applicant that he was falsely implicated in the instant matter in the absence of any material on record connecting him with the alleged crime. However, the prosecution portrayed the same as parts of intentional criminal acts.
Court’s Perusal of WhatsApp Chats
The Court perused a WhatsApp screenshot depicting conversation between the applicant and the victim showing that the victim voluntarily went to the hotel while having knowing knowledge of the applicant and the accused being present in the hotel. It further depicted that the sexual intercourse was consensual in nature, and there was receipt of payment of Rs 5,000 paid by the applicant to the victim after the said incident. In addition, there was a delay of 12 days in lodging the First Information Report.
After going through the aforementioned material, the Court was of the view that “Considering the allegations levelled against the applicant, his custodial interrogation does not appear to be necessary”. As expressed by the Court, it was a fit case for granting pre-arrest bail to the applicant. The Court listed the conditions to be abided by the applicant while being released on bail.
[Umesh v. State of Kerala, 2023 SCC OnLine Ker 7329, Order dated 1-02-2023]
Order by: Dr. Justice Kauser Edappagath
Advocates who appeared in this matter
For Petitioner: Advocate Sasthamangalam S. Ajithkumar
For Respondent: Public Prosecutor Sangeetha Raj N.R.